Sunday, February 16, 2003 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Inconsistencies and iApps

John Gruber synthesizes the recent discussion on Apple’s (lack of) interface consistency. I can now scratch that off my to-blog list, since he’s said most of what I was going to say, better than I would have said it. I like Apple’s new rounded text field because, when used consistently, it hints that it’s for live filtering. (I first saw this use of a text field in Emailer, though iTunes gets the credit for popularizing it.) Apple has already recognized that it’s generally useful and included it in Jaguar. Unfortunately, the white-on-gray X that takes you out of search mode is not part of the standard control, so each program has to roll its own.

Gruber doesn’t quite come out and say it, but consistency and innovation are not at odds. If you need a new control, you should innovate and make one, and it should not be consistent with the standard controls. Controls with different behaviors should look different. But most of the time you don’t need a new control, and you shouldn’t make something that’s superficially different and try to tell me it’s an innovation.

Erik Barzeski’s Ken Burns post is also on target. I was going to wait and link to it when I discussed iMovie 3 and iPhoto 2, but that might not be for a while. In the meantime, here are some of the links I was going to discuss:

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